Last week, I had the joy of meeting one of our fellow gardeners at Yauger!
Her name is Nicky, and when I met her she was working on her lovely garden, Plot 23:
A warm and friendly lady beaming with smiles, Nicky was in the process of building this nifty structure around the garden, made up of duct tape, bird netting, wooden posts, string, and screws.
Naturally, I asked about the structure. She explained that this will help keep critters from snooping in or nibbling on her garden. She also told me that she made the entire structure out of recycled materials – things that were going to be otherwise thrown away!! I was very impressed.
Nicky also shared with me a number of things that keep pesky slugs away: copper, duct tape, scratchy things (like sandpaper), and salt. This is why she had this high-shine duct tape around the perimeter of her garden! She also talked about something she is still working on at home – she calls them “Copper Squiglies,” and not only will the copper ‘electrocute’ the slugs, but the texture of the copper will repel them as well. She also gave the idea of placing plastic lids filled with beer and salt near plants you want to protect – if slugs happen to get through the barriers you’ve created, they will be drawn to these poisonous traps.
She also had a row of beautiful marigolds, placed in between some young tomato plants. She explained that the marigolds are only temporary and will prevent aphids from getting near her tomatoes. This is because aphid-eating insects (like ladybugs) are drawn to marigolds!
Being the resourceful, crafty lady she is, Nicky used some leftover plastic bottles to further protect her tomato plants! You’ll also noticed that she has some lovely pea plants already beginning to crawl up her bean structure that she will complete as the plants climb higher.
She plans on relocating her marigolds to her yard when the tomato plants grow bigger. A tip she gave me for planting tomato plants: bury half the leaves of the tomato plant when you put it into your garden, and the buried leaves will act as an extra root system – this will make your tomato plants healthier and sturdier!
I noticed lots of crushed eggshells spread throughout her garden. She saved up leftover eggshells at home, then crushed and sprinkled them all over her soil. This not only fertilizes her garden with calcium, but the sharp edges of the eggshells scare away slugs and snails! I researched this a little further online and found a concise article about the benefits of eggshells here.
She placed this plastic covering over her celery plant (which she crew from the leftover base of celery from the grocery store!) and said she’s not quite sure how well it works yet. The goal of this lid is to trap warm, moist air and keep the plant safe and healthy. She will keep checking on it and see if it was worth purchasing!
I received a lot of gardening wisdom from Nicky, and she expressed such joy in all she talked about! She explained that she got a horticulture degree in college, and has always loved gardening. She also told me about something she came up with to protect her lettuce plants, and explained it in good detail! Since she doesn’t have lettuce in her garden this year, I sketched while she was explaining it to me:
“I call it a lettuce tree! As the lettuce grew, I trimmed leaves off the bottom about 6 inches. When slugs came up to the lettuce, they decided it was too tall!” Nicky laughed as she talked about it. She said you can do the same thing with spinach plants as well.
Lastly, she told me about a fun and simple way to test your soil to see if it’s composed more of acid or base. (This can tell you what plants will grow more successfully in your soil, or what you should add to your soil.) In a future post I’ll be trying out the experiment myself and I’ll post some photos with it. It should be fun. 🙂
I look forward to running into Nicky again! She’s full of gardening experience and is a lovely person to talk to. Thank you, Nicky, for sharing with me!!
Enjoy the rest of the sunshine this week! And hey, while you’re tending to your garden, get to know your garden neighbors – you may just make a friend and learn a few new things! 🙂